In Jordan work is in progress on two major irrigation projects which will considerably enhance the quality of the lives of a large number of people.
In Jordan work is in progress on two major irrigation projects which will considerably enhance the quality of the lives of a large number of people. The first is the King Talal Dam on the Zerka River and the second the extension of the East Ghor Canal in the Jordan Valley.
The King Talal Dam has been under construction since 1972 and is expected to be completed by the end of this year or early in 1977. The dam is 90 metres (98 yards) high and will gather 56 million cubic metres of water into a 7.5 kilometre-long (4 1/2 mile) lake which will provide irrigation for 6,000 hectares (15,000 acres) of land around it. The total cost of the Dam is expected to be 11 million Jordanian dinars (GBP 18 million sterling).
It will also provide additional benefits in the form of hydroelectricity, drinking water for Jordan's capital, Amman, and a tourist attraction.
The second project, the 18 kilometre (11 mile) extension to the East Ghor Canal in the Jordan Valley, is linked with the King Talal Dam project. It is being financed by what Visnews cameraman George Haj describes as a "long, soft loan" of 10 million U.S. dollars (GBP 5 1/2 million sterling) presented to Jordan by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
The water that will feed into the canal extension will be supplied from the Yarmouk River - a branch of the Jordan - and from the King Talal Dam. When completed the extension will allow for 350 hectares (860 acres) of land to be kept under year-long irrigation, transforming an area at present poorly cropped once a year into rich green farms capable of supporting 3 to 4 crops power annum. Farming incomes in the area are expected to increase by about 700 per cent.
George Haj also notes that the dam project is being built by Yugoslavia - which he describes as "somehow related to the eastern political bloc" - and the canal by South Korea, whose ideologies are firmly rooted in the western capitalist tradition.